Guillermo Sobrero And Abu Sayyaf
(All emphases by Always On Watch)
Do the names in the title of this blog article mean anything to you? Ring any bells?
The following brief item appeared in the Sunday, April 30, 2006 Washington Post:
"MANILA -- Military intelligence agents captured a second militant allegedly involved in the abduction of three Americans, including a missionary couple, from a resort five years ago. Abdasil Malangka Dima, an alleged member of Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group linked to al-Qaeda, was captured in Basilan province, the military said.I didn't wake up until September 11, 2001, and did not recognize the names in the above news item, though I vaguely recalled the names Martin and Gracia Burnham.
"Dima allegedly was involved in the abduction of Martin and Gracia Burnham, from Wichita, Kan., tourist Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif., and 17 Filipinos in 2001. Sobero was beheaded and Martin Burnham was killed during an army rescue mission."
A quick Internet search of the name "Guillermo Sobrero" yielded a June 12, 2001 report of his beheading. Excerpt from the June 12, 2001 article about the beheading of Sobrero:
“'Look for his head in Tuburan,' spokesman Abu Sabaya said.... "My Internet search also yielded the following 2003 blog article which contained an excerpt from Gracia Burnham's book In the Presence of My Enemies:
"Sabaya told the radio station: 'As an independence day gift we released an amigo, Guillermo Sobrero, but he doesn’t have a head now.'
"Today is the 103rd anniversary of the Philippines’ declaration of independence from Spain.
"Sabaya said there would be no more negotiations.
"'There is no reason why we should not behead the others,' he said...."
"'… I was watching a group of the remaining captors as they horsed around with each other, just having fun. Somebody pushed a pleasant young man named Jaafar, who was probably no more than eighteen. In a slightly mocking tone, he retorted “Oooh, oooh, don’t kill me! I want to see my sons!” … In the days ahead we heard that line repeated more than once; in fact it became kind of an “in” joke among the captors. We gradually admitted to ourselves the awful truth: Guillermo’s decapitated body was lying back there somewhere on a hillside, marked only by his head raised up on a bamboo pole like a trophy.'"Consider the following excerpt from the March 27, 2006 Weekly Standard article "Saddam's Philippines Terror Connection: And other revelations from the Iraqi regime files":
"SADDAM HUSSEIN'S REGIME PROVIDED FINANCIAL support to Abu Sayyaf, the al Qaeda-linked jihadist group founded by Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law in the Philippines in the late 1990s, according to documents captured in postwar Iraq. An eight-page fax dated June 6, 2001, and sent from the Iraqi ambassador in Manila to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad, provides an update on Abu Sayyaf kidnappings and indicates that the Iraqi regime was providing the group with money to purchase weapons. The Iraqi regime suspended its support--temporarily, it seems--after high-profile kidnappings, including of Americans, focused international attention on the terrorist group...."Read it all. Note the apparent connection among Saddam Hussein, al-Qaeda, and Abu Sayyaf. Often, what we Westerners think of as different groups of Islamic terrorists have ties, usually financial. According to Dr. Walid Phares, one of the speakers I heard at the Pre-Symposium event on Friday, April 28, 2006, different Islamic terrorist-organizations are branches of the same tree.
More information about Abu Sayyaf can be found here, in this April 2005 report from the State Department. Excerpt:
"The ASG [Abu Sayyaf Group] engages in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, beheadings, assassinations, and extortion. The group’s stated goal is to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago (areas in the southern Philippines heavily populated by Muslims) but the ASG has primarily used terror for financial profit. Recent bombings may herald a return to a more radical, politicized agenda, at least among certain factions. The group’s first large-scale action was a raid on the town of Ipil in Mindanao in April 1995. In April of 2000, an ASG faction kidnapped 21 persons, including 10 Western tourists, from a resort in Malaysia. On May 27, 2001, the ASG kidnapped three US citizens and 17 Filipinos from a tourist resort in Palawan, Philippines. Several of the hostages, including US citizen Guillermo Sobero, were murdered. During a Philippine military hostage rescue operation on June 7, 2002, US hostage Gracia Burnham was rescued, but her husband Martin Burnham and Filipina Deborah Yap were killed. Philippine authorities say that the ASG had a role in the bombing near a Philippine military base in Zamboanga in October 2002 that killed a US serviceman. In February 2004, Khadaffy Janjalani’s faction bombed SuperFerry 14 in Manila Bay, killing approximately 132, and in March, Philippine authorities arrested an ASG cell whose bombing targets included the US Embassy in Manila."So, what got me curious about Guillermo Sobrero and Abu Sayyaf? The Washington Post's mention of a beheading, of course. Just how many beheadings don't make the front page of our newspapers so as not to promote Islamophobia? And how many more reports of Islamic terrorism are buried or not published at all?